What does the liver do?
The largest organ in the body is the liver, an indication of its importance in health.

The liver processes raw materials, manufactures the building blocks of the body, recycles the old to make new, and detoxifies the industrial waste of the body. In short the liver is also involved in practically all that goes on in the body.

As a result, liver disease can affect just about any other part of the body and thus the symptoms of liver disease are typically unpredictable and non- specific. It is estimated that 3% of all diseases seen by veterinarians is liver based. Its importance can be gauged from the fact that 25% of the blood pumped out with each heartbeat goes into the liver alone.The liver does have an advantage though. Liver cells can regenerate themselves. This allows a diseased liver to return to normal function in some cases. Very few organs in the body have this ability.

The liver while being life preserving, makes diagnoses and treatment of liver disease extremely difficult. The liver has a tremendous reserve capacity, which means that it can easily perform it's duties with up to 70 to 80 per cent of the liver mass affected by disease. While it certainly is a benefit that our liver can keep us alive despite an overwhelming infection or a massive tumor, it also means that the disease is well advanced and possibly untreatable before any symptoms are noted.

What Causes Liver Disease?
Canine liver disease can be caused by bacterial infections*, viruses, and fungi, ingested materials, medications, genetic history, poison the dog has consumed or other health conditions.

It is critically important to feed your dog a healthy and nutritious natural diet. Avoid the vast majority of commercial dog foods which are little more than garbage. Only a dog whose body is free of toxic poisoning will be capable of sustaining a healthy immunology and supporting the rest of the bodies organs and functions. See nutrition

*Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection common in wildlife and transferable to domestic animals and
people through contaminated water. Dangerous, possible fatal, but the vaccine is quite good for prevention.

What are the signs of liver disease?
All, some, or only one of these signs may be present. Canine liver disease is the 5th leading cause of non-accidental death amongst dogs.

Poor appetite: This is a common symptom

Vomiting, diarrhea, constipation: Irregular but reoccurring abdominal or gastrointestinal upsets,

Weight loss: The poor appetite that occurs in liver disease eventually leads to loss of weight. Improper metabolism of fat, carbohydrates, and proteins complicates the situation also.

Swollen belly: "fluid filled" look. Due to circulation alterations in the abdomen. If the distention is severe enough breathing might be labored from pain or the pressure on the diaphragm.

Jaundice: skin takes on a yellow hue. The bile pigments are accumulating within the body because the liver is not processing them.

Orange colored urine or mucous membranes due to jaundice.

Water consumption and urination increase: This can occur in liver disease, although several other important diseases cause these symptoms also, notably, kidney disease, Cushing's disease, pyometra, and diabetes mellitus (sugar diabetes).

Depression or lack of energy: Poor appetite and disruption in normal physiologic processes leads to this symptom.

Anemia: Improper nutrition from a poor appetite. Anemia adds to the lack of energy.

Pale gray feces: Bile pigments are what gives poop it's characteristic brown colour If prevented from secreting normal bile pigments into the intestine, the stool will lack pigmentation .

Bleeding disorders: The normal clotting system is impaired since it depends on a healthy liver.

Behavioral changes: circling, head tilt and seizures, particularly after a meal.

How can liver disease in dogs be treated?

If you notice any of the above symptoms, make sure you consult your veterinarian immediately. Because the liver is able to function effectively even at 70-80% capacity, the disease may be in its advanced stages by the time the condition manifests itself. The treatment of idiopathic chronic hepatitis consists of reversing fibrosis (colchicine), and protecting against oxidant damage (vitamin E, ursodeoxycholic acid, S-adenosylmethionine).

Your vet can perform blood tests to check liver enzyme levels among other indicators. He or she can also look and feel for liver enlargement, jaundice or other signs of canine liver disease.
Dietary nutrition and supplements can be extremely effective in treating dog liver disease. Providing the right vitamins, minerals, fats and other nutrients can help restore liver function. Reducing chemical additives and preservatives from your dog's diet can lighten the liver's workload.

There are herbal extracts and other nutrients that have been shown to help eliminate toxins, strengthen immunity and assist with bile production.

Why do we need to get blood work done every 3 to 4 months?
Any dog receiving anti-epileptic medication should have periodic blood samples evaluated for blood chemistry balance. Since many medications are degraded and eliminated from the body via the liver, an assessment of liver function is a priority to prevent liver disease.

How to read a lab report


What is epilepsy
How common is epilepsy
How is epilepsy treated
What is a seizure
During a seizure
After a seizure
Keep a record of seizures
Types of seizures
Controlling seizures
Why is blood work done
How to read a lab report
Liver Disease
What does the liver do
What causes liver disease
Signs of liver disease
How is liver disease treated
Why is blood work done
What should I feed my dog
What is a Hepatic support diet
Liver cleansing recipe
Canine Life diet
Commercial food
Wheat free treats
Natural remedies
What is SamE?
How does SamE work?
How much SamE is given?
The benefits of Milk Thistle?
Other important vitamins
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